EXCLUSIVE: Mudbound star Garrett Hedlund and Boardwalk Empire‘s Kelly Macdonald are in final negotiations to lead cast in long-awaited movie Dirt Music, I can reveal.

The anticipated drama, an adaptation of Tim Winton’s Booker Prize-nominated novel about simmering passion and revenge in the Australian outback, is gearing up for a late 2018 shoot for producers Wildgaze Films, the UK outfit whose 2015 movie Brooklyn notched up three Oscar noms and $60M theatrical, and Aquarius Films, one of the Oz producers on multi-Oscar nominee Lion, which found its way to $140M global.

Winton’s acclaimed novel charts the illicit romance in a tightly-knit community between a fragile woman named Georgie and a mysterious young poacher. When Georgie’s partner gets wind of the tryst a chase ensues between the two men across Australia’s remote and unforgiving terrain.

Hedlund is set to play the role of poacher Luther, and Macdonald will be Georgie. The role of Georgie’s partner Jim has yet to be cast.

Ever-in-demand Jack Thorne (Wonder) has written the screenplay, which is being directed by Buffalo Soldiers and Unthinkable director Gregor Jordan. Finola Dwyer is leading for Wildgaze, Angie Fielder for Aquarius.

Backers include Film4 and Australia’s ScreenWest, with shoot due to take in some of Western Australia’s sweeping vistas. The territory recently played host to hit Oz TV drama Mystery Road and Simon Baker feature Breath, which was another Winton adaptation.

The poetic tale of revenge, secrets and strangers from one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary novelists has long-been a source of admiration for filmmakers and talent alike with a number of A-listers attached to former versions of the project. Hedlund and Macdonald will hopefully give the film the fuel it needs to get to screen.

The former has just wrapped on Netflix movie Triple Frontier with Charlie Hunnam, Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac and recently starred in the HBO and Steven Soderbergh small screen drama Mosaic. Macdonald is currently shooting Giri/Haji for BBC One/Netflix and has Sundance hit Puzzle and Sony comedy Holmes And Watson coming up.

Macdonald is repped by ICM Partners and Independent Talent Group. Hedlund is repped by WME, Brillstein and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern. Jordan is also repped by ICM. None of the production partners were available for comment.